Benjamin Franklin once said “Words may show a man’s wit, but action his meaning”.
While Franklin is correct, politics may be the expectation to the rule,somes the word of a politician may be more important than the actions. What politician mentions or criticises can quickly transform into the party position on an issue , policy or simply the next day's headline. A quote can become a political moment so here’s a roundup of some of the standout quotes from the last month.
Duncan Smith gained the spotlight early last month when he challenged the Healy Rae’s on their opposition to Labour’s National Aggressive Suppression Strategy for Covid-19. The row erupted after the Healy Raes accused Labour of being out of touch with working people.Although the Healy Raes often provoke other deputies it is very rare that they receive a reaction. Smith took the bait and proclaimed his credentials for all;
“Well I’m the son of a carpenter. I’m not the son of Fianna Fáil privilege and millions and millions of Euro.”This performance showed both the Healy Raes and Smith in a new light and provided a unique insight into the characters that colour of the tapestry of the Dail.
Another political moment that stood out in the month of February was Joe Biden's CNN to discuss the first few weeks of his presidency. Biden answered questions from CNN’s Anderson Cooper and audience members in Milwaukee Wisconsin.
The issues raged from vaccination to schools reopening and the racial divide in America. One thing that was very clear from the event was that Biden was reluctant to talk about former president Donald Trump.
At one stage of the night Biden referred to the past president as the “former guy” and saying explicitly; “I'm tired of talking about Donald Trump”. This highlights a clear strategy from the Biden administration to avoid speaking about Trump and focus on the problems facing the country.
February signifies one year since the the GE2020 and the a year since the first covid case in Ireland.A recent Ipsos MRBI poll took the temperature of the Irish electorate one year on, Perhaps the most scaring result that 51% of voters say that the government is “not doing a good job” handling the pandemic. This caused trouble within the government as the Taoiseach and Minister for Health received unsatisfactory ratings.
The poll results led to tremulous parliamentary meetings for the government parties. The mood seems to be that the government is not articulating their plan to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic effectively.
It is reported that Kildare TD James Lawless spoke for many at the Fianna Fail Parliamentary party meeting last week saying; “we have lost the public''. It seems that the recent polls may have touched a nerve in government and sparked a new vigor to turn the situation around.
It isn’t often that that former president Mary Robinson is the centre of controversy. Robinson has become embroiled in the controversy around the disappearance of Princess Latifia. On the Late Late show on Friday night she outlined the sequence of events that led to her taking the now infamous pictures with Princess Latifia.
She expressed her regret for not taking action in the situation saying; “I was naive. I should have been more alert”. Robinson has now decided to put her status and political power behind the campaign to free Princess Latifa.
In conclusion February 2021 was a month of high political tension at home and around the world. We saw moments of apology and moments of passion but unfortunately these moments will probably be forgotten next month, such is the nature of our political system.